Newly minted actress Rihanna was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this week (May 5), for her third time on the show. In hot pants, tall black boots, a see-through blouse, black bra and studded baseball cap, the Battleship star first busted out a medley of “Birthday Cake” — minus birthday boy himself, Chris Brown — and “Talk That Talk,” without a guest verse from Jay-Z. And lest the audience miss the double-entendre laden in that first song, RiRi gyrated through the performance, patting her very own, uh, cake during the repetitive chorus.
For her second performance, Ri managed a quick costume change, slipping into a tight midriff-baring black top, shredded skirt and an armful of bangles. Out came a harem of veiled dancers and live drummers to resurrect the choreography from the video for her current single “Where Have You Been.” The song was staged more like a skit of its own, with long drapes, a long chaise lounge and servants fanning the singer to create a Moroccan palace feel.
Rihanna, “Where Have You Been” (Live on SNL)
Despite SNL‘s notoriously bad sound, Rihanna sounded true to the record, though the heavy echo on her mic and full backing band (on the first song, at least) helped hide any vocal missteps — not that we were paying very close attention to the actual singing. It was hard to keep our eyes off the sexy pop star, who seduced us with her provocative dance moves and rave-worthy laser light shows.